Friday 11 December 2015

Gardening with ME: pressed flowers & foliage - the first results

This is a follow-up of my post at the end of November, on my new hobby of pressing flowers and foliage. I checked how the pressings were going a week ago (all fine) and yesterday I completed process of adding the pressed flowers and foliage to my scrapbook. And here they are - ta da!

One problem I'm having is that the photographs aren't as clear as I would like. I'm finding close-up photography more difficult since having ME, as I shake much more than I used to. I think I'm going to need to get a tripod of some kind to help counter this problem. Still, I think you can get a sense of the flowers in this post, and of course I have the dried flowers, and a magnifying glass, to look at them in my detail in my scrapbook.

Using a magnifying glass, you can see the anthers of the stamen in quite fine detail.
The colour of the splotches on the petals are also much more vivid.

Another thing that isn't showing up right in some of the photos is the colour of the flowers. For instance, the Geranium petals are much more of a deep purple in my scrapbook, blue in these photographs, but 'Ann Folkard' is actually a magenta coloured flower. I think a mix of photographing the flower indoors dulls the colour, but possibly the process of drying leeched out the colour a bit. I'll try again next year, but early in the flowering period for this plant (from May) and see if I can dry it in a way that keeps the colour more.

You can pick up the orange colour of the anthers. I hope next time I can capture the
magenta petals against the orange anthers, as the colours together are very striking.

The flower to the left is quite close to the colour of the flower on the plant, my dried specimen
in the scrapbook is much darker. Another one I want to try again next year.

A skill I need to improve is placing the specimens into the paper to the pressed more carefully. You can see that I bent around some of the Sage leaves. Despite that, even in the photo you get a good idea of the kind of detail to be found on a common Sage leaf. It looks like mountains and valleys contained within a leaf. I never paid such attention to this plant before (other than cooking with it), and I'm enjoying the discoveries this new hobby is giving me.

I chose to capture the underside of the Potentilla leaf, as I found the soft hairs so very intriguing. Quite beautiful, and I can confirm that if you stroke the underside it is very furry. This reminds me that in future I should press both the top and underside of any leaf of flower, to record the complete specimen.

I'm quite happy with my first go and am keen to try some more. I might even try and make some gift cards next time.

This is a fairly low-energy hobby for someone with ME/a chronic illness. The major energy expended is collecting the flowers, placing them in the paper and then stacking them, all which needs to be done around the same time if you want to optimise the chances of them drying well.

Once they are dry, it requires a bit of energy carefully teasing them off the paper and onto the scrapbook page. More than you might think as it is quite an intense action. But you can do this slowly, even over a couple of days if you wish. I did it over a couple of hours. You can then take your time looking at the flowers and foliage in detail, in the comfort of your warm house, and enjoy a bit of the garden inside.

So, I've noticed buds on my Hellebores. I think they might be next.